The crap truth of aging – besides the arthritis, cataracts and dementia – is that the older you get, the harder it is to engage in 36-hour alcoholic benders without suffering debilitating physical repercussions. Once you reach a Certain Age, “fun drunken shenanigans” are replaced by “passing out on the floor at 10 PM and waking up with a hangover that lasts for a day and a half,” which sucks, to say the least. But while some might interpret the raging hangover as the body’s way of demanding a reduction in boozin’, we choose to interpret it as the universe’s way of challenging us to identify crafty ways hang in there for the 11th game of Cranium at 2 in the morning. Science has failed us mightily in this arena, but luckily for us (and you), drinking lore offers advice from decades of drunkards who’ve had to do exactly the same thing. So the next time you decide to challenge your poker buddies to a night of Jaeger bombs and whiskey chasers, keep in mind the following tips and enjoy a (hopefully) hangover-free morning after.
‘Hair of the Dog’
You may or may not have heard that the “hair of the dog that bit you” can alleviate the symptoms of a hangover (…we’ll wager ‘may not’, because we’re not in 1940’s Ireland), but the concept is simple: when suffering from the after-booze blues, drinking just a little bit more can dull your symptoms in the same pleasant way it dulls your judgment at 4 AM. The success of this remedy depends entirely on your level of morning-after nausea, as well as your ability to be near alcohol after guzzling it straight out of the bottle all night long, but if you can handle it, a strong, spicy Bloody Mary or aptly-named “hair of the dog” can be just the thing you need to get out of the gutter.
Ginger has been used for centuries by ninjas, samurai warriors and renegade monks to combat nausea and indigestion and get back to the business of badassness. Follow in their footsteps with ginger tea, ginger chews, or if you’re feeling like not-a-girl, a big hunk of ginger root boiled over an open fire. It’s like Pepto Bismol without the chalky taste and horrifying color.
The ravages of alcohol deplete your body of many essential vitamins (not least of which being vitamin shame), but the one that really gets you the morning after is Vitamin B. Some people swear that taking B-complex vitamins before bed, along with plenty of water, staves off the worst of their hangover symptoms. It might not be true, but it certainly can’t hurt.
Anything that replaces electrolytes is apt to help you perk up from a hangover, since drinking heavily dehydrates you faster than running a marathon in 105-degree heat. Of course, fruit juice and Gatorade are no substitute for water, so keep both going at the same time to speed up recovery. Drinking copious amounts of non-alcoholic liquids before bed is also a proven way to avoid spending the next morning puking in your boss’s garbage can.
While they’re absolutely terrible things to think about eating when you’re hung over, they’re full of vitamins and salt, two things your body has very little of after hours of drunken revelry. Maybe you’re the hard-core kind of dude to whom this appeals immensely (in which case, godspeed), but if it’s grossing you out just to read about it, you should probably try…
Toast/Saltines/ Greasy Food
Toast and saltines are nausea-battling no-brainers – remember when you had the flu in sixth grade? – but a big, greasy breakfast is also a tried-and-true method of sopping up all of the excess liquor your body hasn’t had a chance to metabolize properly during the night. Good options include Denver omelettes, lo-mein noodles, or leftover pizza + whatever you can find in your fridge. Just be sure to eat slowly to avoid making yourself sicker; puking is way less fun when it involves food you’ve just eaten in efforts to stop yourself from puking. Which reminds us:
There are times in every man’s hangover career when the only course of action is to worship the porcelain goddess, as it were. Donating back last night’s libations is by no means enjoyable, but it’s sometimes the only way to get over the hangover hump and get on the road to a speedy mid-afternoon recovery. When nothing else will do, channel your college self and just … git ‘er done. You’ll thank us later. Possibly.
There are few things sleep can’t cure (like … being dead? Sleep pretty much owns everything), and hangovers are definitely not one of them. If you have the luxury of time, or your own office, your best bet for battling a wicked hangover is copious hydration and epic slumber. You’ll awake refreshed, revived, and ready to start another long night of falling spectacularly off of the wagon.